So far so good. Everybody was on time (a few even got there before me!) and check-in went smoothly. At first they wanted us all to go through the “check-in assistance” line but they weren’t that busy so they started taking the kids through the regular check-in lanes and all went smoothly. One note for the future – you can get Aeroplan points for any Air Canada flights you take – even when they’re booked through EF – so it might be worth it for all the travellers to sign up for Aeroplan as part of their pre-trip preparation.
After checking-in we made our way to Tim Hortons (which actually opens at 5am and not 4:30… who knew…) Then it was through security – again no problems and off to the gate where we had about 20 minutes to spare before they started boarding. Unfortunately some of our fellow travellers weren’t as on the ball getting through security or something so the plane was delayed a half hour while we waited for them. We were all seated more or less together on the plane but it really didn’t matter as most of us sacked out soon after we sat down. I think Ross set the record for soundest sleep as he managed to survive the endless jostling of people heading for the bathroom and the cabin attendants serving drinks, etc. without opening an eyelid for most of the flight!
The flight was pretty routine (aside from the very chatty older guy who sat next to Fraser and wanted to take his picture – on Fraser’s phone so it’s not quite as creepy as it sounds – but still kind of creepy). A bit of fog when we took off and a couple of bumpy patches along the way but overall a very smooth flight… The multitude of babies all around us even stayed quiet for almost the entire flight! Once on the ground, we made our way to the international departures area and sacrificed a couple of arms and legs to get something to eat and are just waiting for our plane to board in about 45 minutes.
For this flight we were seated more or less together again at the very back of the plane. We were mixed in with the group that will be travelling with us in Europe… Given that we’d been up since 3am and had already flown halfway across the country, they were much more excited to be flying than our group… Most of us were out the minute we sat down and woke up only long enough to eat “dinner.” Air Canada is not known for the quality of their inflight meals but tonight’s meal was just plain lousy even by their standards. Apparently they ran out of the chicken entree somewhere around the middle of the plane which left us with “shepherd’s pie” as our only option. It was pretty bad. A thin layer of instant mashed potatoes on top of something that might have been beef once mixed with a spicy-ish tomato sauce… The best thing that could be said about it was that it was hot. An odd salad of cabbage and corn and shredded carrots and a dry brownie or chocolate cake rounded out our dining experience. At least it was served quickly so we could all fall back to sleep.
I think Connor summed the whole flight experience up best when he said “I felt like I’d been asleep for hours but when I woke up we were still over Canada…Not fair…” Even though it was only a 7hr flight, it felt much much longer. I think Caitlin slept well, though, having somehow scored the absolute holy grail of long distance flying – getting a seat with 2 empty seats beside her… a whole row all to herself. Even when her mom horned in on her space, Caitlin still had two seats all to herself and was able to contort herself into a semblance of comfort and seemed to sleep soundly for much of the flight. The rest of us dozed off and on throughout the flight or watched one of in-flight movies (Brad Pitt’s “Fury” seemed a popular choice) and dreamed of being back on solid ground again. Thankfully the flight was quite smooth (virtually no turbulence at all) and we landed more or less on time (not an insignificant accomplishment for Air Canada).
So that was our first day of travel… although I don’t think any of us were awake to note the end of our first day spent travelling.